What it feels like to grow up gifted

Photography: Jack Grayson // @jackgrayson

Words: Emma Vidgen // @emma_vee


With great power comes great responsibility - just ask Brooklyn-based artist, healer and medium Hank Hivnor. “When someone's with me I’ll raise the vibration incrementally through the course of the reading because if I have the vibration turned up all the way when the person walks in, they're gonna be knocked over,” he says. “It's all about station identification, and matching our frequencies. And I want to make sure that they can hear me if I'm talking to them, because it's just not going to work unless they really understand what's happening.”


“If I have the vibration turned up all the way when the person walks in, they're gonna be knocked over.”


Deep in conversation

Hank is not your average intuitive. He was famously commissioned to channel the spirit of legendary ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky for an interview in Carine Roitfeld CR Fashion Book. “My favourite clients are artists but I work with everyone,” Hanks says. He spent days hanging with Michael Jackson after his death. “It was very interesting connecting with him. I’m not a fan myself but he was so present with his fans after he passed,” Hank says. “I’m a muralist and he wanted to do a mural of the Wright brothers. Later on I found out he had done one while he was alive.”


Growing up gifted

Hank has read everywhere from hotel rooms to dive bars, but harnessing his gift didn’t always come naturally. In fact, he didn’t always know he was psychic. “It didn't seem like a gift, it seemed like I was too sensitive,” says Hank. “I had to be shown where I was on the map. I just thought I was crazy, or just really eccentric, because I was even weirder than the weirdos. I was like king of the weirdos.” Growing up in Manhattan in the 1980s, a sixth sense didn’t equate to social cred. “I wasn't really fitting in. Most people were excelling because of their lack of sensitivity, like kids who were really good at sports, kids that were really good at being competitive. Where I grew up, it was like you had to be really competitive. I was an outcast, because I wasn't aggressive enough.... I didn't really understand what was happening until I got older.”


Coming out clairvoyant

Confused by why he felt and saw things differently to other people, Hank found himself drawn to spirituality in his teen years. “I went to a Zen Centre in Boston, I was 15, and I just walked in, and this lady told me how to sit and meditate. And I just felt fantastic. I was like, ‘this is my place,’” says Hank. “I didn't recognise that it was awakening something within me, or making me feel like more validated.” Coming out as a medium took many years. “When I first started doing psychic work, I had really good experiences helping people, but I was so terrified to come out as a psychic, or be seen as that,” says Hank.


Healing arts

Slowly he began to embrace his gift and carve out his own distinct niche. “I realised that you just have to own it, and if someone has a problem with it, that's them,” Hank says. “I used to do a lot of readings in clubs, and I would put on some eyeliner and go out and read. It was kind of like being a drag queen going out to a crazy club, and that was really fun, no regrets, but it was a different experience.” Now Hank prefers to read from his home, leaving the club scene behind since he stopped drinking in 2013. “It's interesting, I don't regret getting sober at all,” he says. “That’s just my personal choice. I know psychics that drink a lot and they’re great so it’s not like there’s anything wrong with that.” He divides his time between painting and healing work, seeing clients all over the world via Skype. “Sometimes I feel like I'm doing something very intricate, and I understand what I'm doing,” he says “Other times I feel like I'm playing a piano with oven mitts on, expecting to play a concerto or something. So I just kind of go with it.



To book a session with Hank visit www.hankhivnor.com/

Emma Vidgen